- What is a proxy server?
- What is the use of proxy servers?
- What is an anonymous proxy server?
- What is a public proxy server?
- Is the "anonymous proxy" I came across on the Internet really anonymous?
What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is a kind of buffer between your computer
and the Internet resources you are accessing (e.g. Web sites or FTP archives).
The data you request come to the proxy first, and only then it transmits the
data to you.
What is the use of proxy servers?
Usually, proxy servers are used to increase the effective
speed of your connection to the Internet, as they save files that are requested
most often in a special database called "cache". The cache of a proxy server
is generally huge in its capacity, and contains not only the requests made by
you, but also the files that have been requested by hundreds, if not thousands,
of other Internet users. As a result, the information you need may already be
present in cache by the time of your request, making it possible for the proxy
to deliver it immediately. The overall increase in performance may be very high.
Besides that, proxy servers can help in cases when, for example, the owners
of the Internet resource impose some restrictions on users from certain countries
or geographic regions.
What is an anonymous proxy server?
Any web site in the world can track your movements through
its pages and monitor your reading interests using your IP address, a unique
ID assigned to each computer on the Internet. Depending on the policies of the
Internet resource, you might not be able to get access to the information you
need. Also, your visit can be registered and used later to gather some personal
information about you.
It is widely agreed that governments and
organizations publish dummy websites on controversial topics for the purpose
of monitoring interested parties. Also, this information, in combination with
your e-mail address, can be used to increase the number of targeted advertisements
fired at you by the marketers.
Using only your IP address and the information
about your operating system, a Web site can automatically exploit security holes
in your system using some not-very-complex, ready-made, free hacking programs.
Some of such programs may just hang your machine, making you reboot it, but
other, more powerful ones, can get access to the content of your hard drive
or RAM. The anonymous proxy prevents this by hiding your IP address so
that no one can access your computer via the network. In most cases, however,
proxies do inform the target server about the address of the computer that made
the request, transmitting your IP-address in different forms.
Anonymous (real anonymous!) proxy
servers don't transfer the information about the IP-address of the client, and
thus effectively hide the information about you and your surfing interests.
Besides that, some proxy servers can also hide the very fact that you are surfing
through a proxy server! Anonymous proxies can be used for all kinds of Web-services,
such as Web-Mail (MSN Hot Mail, Yahoo mail), web-chat rooms, FTP archives, etc.
What is a public proxy server?
It is a proxy server which is free and open for everybody
on the Internet. There is quite a large number of public proxy servers in many
countries but most of them are not anonymous.
Is the "anonymous proxy" I came across on the Internet really an anonymous one?
Most probably, No. We have studied more than 8,000 public
proxy servers and found that only a few hundred of them are true anonymous
proxy servers. Although almost half of all servers call themselves "anonymous"
because they do not transfer the client's IP address in the standard way, nevertheless
the address is present in their requests in other different forms and therefore
they do not provide any anonymity. Besides, we found that some proxies transfer
the IP address of the client occasionally, from time to time.